Technology, Business, Email, How-To, inbox, ninja, Tips
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:06:46 +0000
I used to get stuck answering emails on a daily basis. I woke up in the morning, brewed coffee, and began tackling incoming queries. After answering all of the emails in my inbox I felt accomplished and relieved. But the next morning the cycle repeated. I felt like the main character in Groundhog Day. For many professionals, trying to keep up with email can be an exhausting challenge. Today I decided to share some wisdom on how you can keep your email under control, save time, and increase your overall productivity. These tips are short, sweet, and straight to the point. Just like your emails should be. Have more than one account You have probably already done this, but in case you’re running a little behind the times, it’s vital that you get up to speed. Create an email you plan to use specifically for offers and newsletters. This will be your dummy email address. You can use this whenever you want to get a sweet deal, free download, etc. Next, you should create an email address specifically for your friends and family. After that, you should create another email address that you plan on using professionally. If you run a website or a business, be sure to apply the same method. Create separate email addresses for general inquiries, advertising, support, etc. If you hate signing in and out of your accounts, search for an email management software on Google. Manage your notifications Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and all the other social networks out there can be extremely useful for your business. However, when you get messages every day saying that someone has commented on your post, or is following you on Twitter, you can get distracted pretty easily. These notifications add up quickly. To resolve this issue, turn off all email notifications for these services. Create a FAQ If you run an online business, you should set up a FAQ. Answering the same question is a waste of your time. What major concerns do your customers or visitors have? Address those common questions. Be precise Words matter. Get to the point. Be clear and upfront about your questions, directions, and answers. If you have multiple questions or inquiries, be sure to included them into one email. This will reduce confusion and follow up questions seeking additional clarity. Don’t leave it for tomorrow Try to finish answering every opened email today. Setting it aside will eventually create a snowball effect. Acknowledge receipt If somebody sent you an important file, invoice, or any other document, let them know that you received it. It only takes a second to do so, e.g. “Thanks,” “Got it,” “Will do,” etc. This will let the sender know that you received the email and don’t need additional information or context. Unsubscribe Spree You might have signed up to various newsletters in the past. Now they’ve become spam that you constantly have to delete. Take a second to scroll all the way down and find the unsubscribe link. Every legitimate newsletter will have an “unsubscribe” link. If you don’t see a link, then mark it as spam. A great tool for this is Unroll.me. Set a time frame Let’s face it, e-mail can be extremely distracting. When you are constantly checking your e-mail, it is easy to lose track of time. To prevent this from happening, set two or three 30 minute time slots to check your email. One could be right after lunch and the other before you leave work. It’s completely up to you to decided when you want to answer your emails. Manage your replies This one is very important. Never ask an open-ended question in your e-mail if you can avoid it. See to it that your questions demand a response. Revert to 1980 That’s right, pick up the phone. If you’re in an e-mail thread that is just out of control because of miscommunication, lack of understanding or you just can’t come to a reasonable agreement, pick up the phone and call. Feel free to delete It’s simple, when I don’t find an e-mail important enough to respond to, I delete it. If you do need to respond, be sure to act upon on it immediately. Declare email bankruptcy If thing are out of control completely to the point where you’re drowning in email, then it’s time to declare email bankruptcy. This means that you’re going to delete every single thing in your inbox. Before you bite the bullet, send out an email to all of your contacts. Let them know you’ve just declared email bankruptcy. Bcc the list of people you were never going to get back to in the first place too. Tell them that you’re starting over. Any person who’s still waiting for your reply is most likely over it ( if it was truly urgent they would’ve followed up). This decision may not be a wise one, but if you’re constantly stressed then it’s totally worth it.
Shop, best, microphones, podcasting, professional, top
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:03:35 +0000
Planning to start a podcast? Well, before you get started you should consider getting the most important piece to the puzzle, the microphone. Having a high quality microphone is going to make a huge difference to the sound quality of your recording. There are two factors to consider before buying a microphone. First, you should know your exact budget. Second, you should have a good idea of where you plan to record (big room, small room, noisy background, etc.). As with many other things in life, the more money you spend, the better quality you’ll get. If you don’t have the money right now, don’t sweat it. As you become more successful you will be upgrading your gear as you go. The goal here isn’t to spend hundreds of dollar an a microphone. The goal is to find something within your budget that you can use on a regular basis. Today I collected some of the top entry level and professional microphones for you to consider. This list is the result of reading reviews from customers, industry professionals, and credible technology websites. Below you will find microphones aimed at different budgets. Good luck! Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser USB Microphone This USB microphone plugs directly into your laptop or desktop (Windows and Mac compatible). This mic is easy to use and should function seamlessly with almost any recording software. The AT2020 is a great choice it you’re just starting out. It’s perfect for home studio recording, field recording, podcasting, and voiceover use. The only downside is that it lacks gain control and a headphone input. This microphone provides a very natural sounding voice while you speak into it. Because the microphone is so small, it works well in reducing noise around you while you speak into it, and the polar pattern allows for less interference as well from pesky background noise. This is a very inexpensive option for someone who is just starting out, or doesn’t produce too many podcasts. Buy $129.00 Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone If you were to ask any professional podcaster or radio broadcaster about this microphone, I can guarantee you that they would have good things to say about the PR 40. This dynamic microphone delivers rich and full sound, allowing your voice to sound vibrant and organic. It is also great at reducing the amount of noise that can be heard in the background. Producing the widest frequency range available in a dynamic microphone, the PR 40 outperforms most condenser microphones, and can withstand huge amounts of SPL. At the same time, it maintains the 25 year Heil Sound tradition of superbly natural voice articulation. Buy $327.00 Rode Podcaster Booming Kit: Podcaster, PSA1 Arm, and PSM1 shock mount The Rode Podcaster is a dynamic USB microphone that combines broadcast quality audio with the simplicity of USB connectivity, no pre amps or other equipment needed. This kit was specifically designed for podcasters. They’ve included everything you need to get started. Simply plug it in and start talking. This microphone processes all of the analogue-to-digital conversion internally (bypassing the computer’s lower quality on-board sound controller altogether), has a headphone output on the microphone body (which provides zero-latency monitoring), and has a built in pop filter (designed to minimize plosives sounds). Buy $349.95 MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shockmount If you’re in the market for professional sound quality in both digital and analog recordings, then you should consider the MXL 990. Don’t let the low price fool you, this mic serves all the purposes without sacrificing quality. If you wish to plug it into your PC or Mac you will need a XLR-to-USB converter. Custom shock mount, mic stand adapter, and a case are all included with the mic. Buy $72.87 Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone – Silver Edition Disclosure: I own this microphone. The Yeti USB microphone comes with 4 different pattern modes; Stereo mode: The stereo mode uses both the left and right channels, and is ideal for capturing a realistic, general sound image. Cardioid mode: Well-suited to podcasts, sung vocals, and other voice work, cardioid mode records sound sources that are directly in front of the microphone. It delivers a rich, full-bodied sound. Omnidirectional mode: Omnidirectional mode picks up sound equally from all directions. It is best used in situations when you want to capture the ambience of “being there”–like a live recording of a band’s performance. Bidirectional mode: Bidirectional mode records from both the front and the rear of the microphone. It is ideal for capturing the nuance of a musical instrument, or recording an interview between two people. Its aluminum body has a mute button, volume knob, gain knob, pattern knob, a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, and USB port. This microphone is very easy to set up and start recording. It works with MAC and PC. The Yeti is useful for almost every recording situation. If you need to sneeze or cough, simply press the mute button. If you’re experiencing distortion or feedback, simply adjust the gain. If you want to listen to the recording in real time without latency, plug in your headphones. Buy $98.47 Honorable mentions Shure PG42-USB Vocal Microphone Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone (Cardioid) Samson Go Mic Compact USB Microphone Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone Samson C01 Large Diaphragm Vocal Condenser Microphone CAD U1 USB Dynamic Recording Microphone Samson G Track USB Microphone
Self Development, alone, Fear, life, loneliness
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 05:25:07 +0000
Loneliness. Does that word scare you? A surprising number of people fear being alone. In the United States we’re socially programmed into believing that being lonely is weird. We constantly see this in movies and TV shows. If you’re quiet or alone, you’re automatically labeled as weird, strange, or a loser. You can see this type of mentality shine in visual media that is aimed at teenagers. These television shows praise the extroverts, but shun the introverts. This skewed view is gross and irrational. At times, we tend to fear being without friends, family, or a partner. We fear traveling through this journey we call life, alone. But being alone isn’t a bad thing. Being alone is empowering. Everything that you think you know about loneliness, like depression and sadness, is nonsense. Being alone has way more benefits than constantly being part of a group. Now I’m not saying to cut off the entire world completely, you should always try to maintain a balance and see you friends/family every now and then, but in general you should embrace being alone. You’ll be amazed at how much time you have for yourself and how much happier you are. Embrace Your Ambitions Think about all the things you want to do with your life, all your dreams and hopes, they are all reasons you shouldn’t be afraid of being alone. When you’re focusing on someone else, your ambitions can slip away. Some people go through their entire life without accomplishing anything they wanted to, and that’s the most scariest part of all. You Are All You Need In order to overcome being alone, you need to first realize that you are all you need. You do not need others to give you approval on everything you do. Don’t take this they wrong way, but you come and leave this world alone. So there is nothing wrong with being alone while having this experience. Listen To Advice, But Follow Your Heart When I first realized that I’m the only one responsible for my success and failures, my mind opened up to a whole new line of thinking. Others will give you advice on how to live your life, and some of them are right. Spend some time considering what people have told you in the past, but only do what you feel is right. Remember, you’re the only one who knows what is right for you. Enjoy Every Moment If you’ve recently been getting used to being alone, remember to fully enjoy every moment that you spend with other people. They can easily be gone tomorrow, so remember to love the time you spend with them. Change Your Routine Again, if you’re still getting used to not being around other people all the time, try to change up your routine. Try moving around your furniture, change your work schedule. Do whatever it takes to break yourself away from routines that you’re used to with other people being involved. Level Up Your Skills Another great way to deal with becoming alone is to not fill your newly found free time with useless junk. Sometimes it can be easy to fill your mind with television, surfing the Internet, and watching Forest Gump over and over again, but it’s not worth it. Spend your time making yourself a better person. Use your free time to read, create things, and experience new things. You could even take time to learn a new language. It’s simple to find constructive things to do. Plan Out Your Future If you’re still feeling down, or afraid of the idea of not having people around all the time, it’s alright. One of the best things to do is to come up with a plan for your future, where do you want to be in five years? Think about the small steps that it will take to get there, and get started immediately. Volunteer When you’re sick of perusing only your own goals. Think about organizations in your community that need the most help. You can always find somewhere to donate a little time. Not only is this a great way to get some much needed social time, but will help you to better understand your role in the world and will make you a stronger person. Conclusion I hope this article has helped you. Being alone can be a joyful thing. You deserve all the ‘me time’ you can get. Discovering who you truly are and what you enjoy is a wonderful experience. So don’t be sad or fearful, celebrate it!